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Guide to Permits/Paperwork for Weddings & Elopements in BC

All images by Pursell Photography. 
All images by Pursell Photography. 

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013 - vancouver waterfall elopement

Congratulations on your decision to get married in beautiful British Columbia! Elopements and weddings offer a unique and intimate way to celebrate your love, and British Columbia, with its stunning scenery and diverse landscapes, provides the perfect backdrop for your special day. However, before you pack your bags and say “I Do,” it’s important to understand the permits and paperwork required for your elopement.

Permits/Paperwork for Weddings & Elopements in BC

Marriage License:

  • This is the most important document you’ll need, and it allows you to legally marry in British Columbia. You can apply for a marriage license at any government agent’s office in British Columbia.
  • Both partners must be present to apply and must provide valid identification, such as a passport or birth certificate.
  • The marriage license is valid for three months from the date of issue, so be sure to apply well in advance of your elopement date.
  • The cost of a marriage license is $100.

Wedding Timeline


  • Depending on your chosen elopement location, you may need to obtain a permit.
  • Here’s a breakdown of the different types of permits you may need:

Provincial Parks:

  • If you’re planning to elope in a provincial park, you’ll need a Special Event Permit if you have more than 25 guests or if you plan to use amplified sound.
  • You can apply for a Special Event Permit online or at any provincial park information center.
  • The cost of a Special Event Permit varies depending on the size of your group and the activities you plan.


Municipal Parks:

  • If you’re planning to elope in a municipal park, you’ll need to contact the municipality directly to inquire about permit requirements.
  • Permit requirements and fees vary depending on the municipality.

Example: your guest list is below 20 and your ceremony has no amplified sound, you don’t need a permit for a small, ceremony in designated locations within Stanley Park. See the parks in Vancouver that are designated for weddings.

treehouse wedding photography

Private Property:

  • If you’re planning to elope or have a wedding on private property, you’ll need to obtain permission from the landowner.
  • Be sure to get the permission in writing and clearly understand any restrictions or conditions that may apply.

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Other Permits:

  • Depending on your chosen elopement location and activities, you may need additional permits, such as:
  • A campfire permit if you plan to have a campfire.
  • A fishing license if you plan to go fishing.

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Additional Paperwork:

  • In addition to the permits mentioned above, you may also need to provide additional paperwork, such as:
  • Proof of citizenship or permanent resident status for both partners.
  • A divorce decree or death certificate if either partner has been previously married.

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Tips for Obtaining Permits:

  • Start planning early and apply for permits well in advance of your elopement date.
  • Carefully review the requirements for each permit and ensure you have all the necessary documentation.
  • Be prepared to pay any applicable fees.
  • If you’re unsure about any permit requirements, contact the relevant authority for clarification.

sea to sky mountain elopement lgbtq

Working with a Photographer:

  • As Vancouver-based photographers with extensive experience in elopements, we understand the importance of obtaining the necessary permits and paperwork.
  • We can help you navigate the process and ensure that your elopement is stress-free.
  • We can also provide recommendations for elopement and photoshoot locations that require minimal permits. See some of the best places to elope around Vancouver

035 mountain beach elopement photo

Contact Pursell Photography Today:

We hope this guide has been helpful! Please remember that the information provided is general and may not apply to all situations. It’s always best to contact the relevant authorities for the most up-to-date information.

Get in touch to start planning your elopement or wedding photography. 

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Additional Resources:

We hope this comprehensive guide helps you navigate the permits and paperwork process for your elopement in British Columbia. Remember, we’re here to help! Contact Pursell Photography today and let us capture your special day in all its beauty.

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